Red Cross volunteers rescue flood victims

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 November 2000, 23:24 GMT]
235 persons mostly women and children, marooned in several villages in the Tiger controlled areas in the Batticaloa district due to the breach of the dikes of Tharavaikulam were rescued late Monday evening by a group of volunteers of the local Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) under the co-ordination of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), officials said.

Incessant rain during the last four days raised the water level in the tank to unprecedented levels causing the breach of the dikes trapping the people in the villages of Tharavely, Priapaditheevu and Murukantheevu.

Information Officer of the ICRC, Harasha Gunewardene, in a press release said that the International Committee of the Red Cross undertook the rescue operation with the necessary permission of the security forces.

Volunteers of the SLRCS under the co-ordination of the ICRC were able to rescue the villagers from the affected areas with the aid of four boats. Although the lagoon connects Kinnaiyady and Oddamavadi, the boats had to be brought from Oddamavadi by tractor in the pouring rain as the rising waters of the lagoon made it unnavigable.

The Valaichenai bridge lies between Oddamavadi and Kinniayady. The ICRC mobile Health team treated around 60 civilians on arrival. The SLRCS then arranged a school in Sungankerny to temporarily house the evacuated people and also provided the night meal.

An ICRC team is now in Ampara assessing the flood situation in colony areas, sources said.

The ICRC, which opened an office in Batticaloa in 1990, today has a staff of eight foreign nationals and sixty Sri Lankans carrying out its humanitarian activities in the Batticaloa, Ampara and Polonnaruwa districts.

 

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